6 Ways to Generate More B2B Leads Online

18 June 2013 - 17:13, by , in Online Marketing, No comments

B2B marketers are typically measured on one thing: generating leads. If you’re looking for new and effective ways to generate warm leads then this post is for you.

In this post, I’ll explain different B2B lead generation tactics that I have used before and tell you the costs associated and the ROI that I’ve been able to achieve with each tactic.

Here are 6 Ways to Generate more B2B Leads:

1. Sourcing Leads Through LinkedIn

(Estimated cost= $50-100 per month)

While working at my last company Vistage International, I developed a program to source, qualify and close CEO leads using nothing more than a LinkedIn premium account. At Vistage, our target market was the CEO of a $5M+ company that had a minimum of 10 employees in the organization. Using traditional marketing channels that audience is one of the toughest to get in front of, however using LinkedIn, it is relatively easy. With a LinkedIn premium account, (I’d recommend starting with the Business account), you have access to running advanced searches with pretty narrow targeting criteria.

For Example:

Let’s say I was running a search for CEOs of $5M+ companies in the San Diego market. I’d use LinkedIn’s advanced search to target

Keyword: CEO, Chief Executive Officer or the title of the person you’re trying to reach.

Zip Code: 92130 (Zip code for North County in San Diego) with a 10, 25 mi radius.

Seniority Level: Owner, CXO

Company Size: For a CEO of a $5M+ company, I’d say on average their employee count would be between 51+ employees, so I’d add those filters to my search.  (Since LinkedIn doesn’t have an option to search by revenue, we’ll use company size to make an educated guess).

sourcing leads with linkedin

Then you’ll hit search and you’ll come up with a list of all of the people that meet the requirements of your search. You can use 3rd party data provider sites such as Manta.com to qualify the companies that come up in the search with Estimated Revenue Data.

Then if the person meets the requirements of a qualified lead for your company, you can send out a connection request to the individual with short copy that the prospect will find interesting and valuable. Once connected, send a follow up message with more information about your product or service. Also, another way to get a message directly in front of this person is to send the user an InMail (You’ll get 3 InMails allotted with a business account and you can purchase extras for $10/message and/or upgrade to a higher premium account for more).

The ROI of sourcing leads through LinkedIn = The cost of this medium is the cost of a LinkedIn premium account + the cost of an employees time. In my last company this yielded extremely high results- I can’t give you specifics however I can tell you that they looked to hire multiple full time employees for this program specifically because it resulted in over 10 new paying customers in 12 months.

2. LinkedIn Pay Per Click Advertising Platform

(Estimated Cost $100-2000/ Per Month)

If this is your first time running pay per click advertising, then you’re in luck because LinkedIn’s Ad Platform is one of the easiest to use. I’ve used this platform for many of my clients and have had great results every time. The reason why LinkedIn’s Ad Platform works so well for B2B businesses is because of the advanced targeting capabilities the platform offers.

With the LinkedIn Ad Platform you can target by DMA, Title, Company, Group, Company Size, etc. to narrow down your potential audience size to a specific group of people that you’re trying to get in front of.

Also in comparison to other PPC platforms such as Adwords, LinkedIn Ads is usually cheaper per click.

For Example:

Let’s say that you were trying to reach Owners and C-Level executives in Los Angeles, CA that have a company size of 50+ employees.

LinkedIn makes the targeting simple:

linkedin advertising screenshot

In this example, there’s an estimated target audience of 40,493 LinkedIn members that you could potentially reach through their ad platform. There are also options to advertise against a specific set of skills and a specific group.

The ROI of LinkedIn PPC Advertising = While running advertising for various clients I’ve typically seen a CPL (Cost Per Lead) around $100 and a CPQL (Cost Per Qualified Lead) between $250-350. Also, I’ve seen relatively higher Click-through rates (CTR) than normal- Industry Average Click Through Rate is .025% and I’ve seen an average between .040%-.100% for the campaigns’ I’ve run.

3. Facebook Advertising

(Estimated Cost $500-5,000 per month)

While I believe Facebook advertising is more effective for B2C businesses in terms of lead quality, I wouldn’t take Facebook advertising completely out of your strategy until you’ve at least tested it for yourself. It’s a relatively cost efficient solution that can yield good results and has unique targeting capabilities such as targeting by someone’s interests.

For Example:

The big difference between using Facebook vs. other platforms to advertise is being able to layer precise interests along with demographic data.

For this example, lets say you’re trying to find Republican business owners in California.

Using Facebook’s Targeting options, I narrowed the location down to California, raised the standard age from 13+ to 20+, added some precise interests such as: Mitt Romney, Republican, Fox News, etc. and used the broad category of Small Business Owner. Which ended up giving us an estimated audience of 78,000 people who meet those specific requirements:

 facebook advertising

The ROI of Facebook Advertising: As you can see in the image above, the bid amounts for clicks in Facebook advertising are relatively cheap compared to other options. From my experience, Facebook advertising is cost effective in terms of generating quantity of leads but lacks in the quality portion. However, because it is relatively cheap compared to other advertising options, it’s worth running as you can still get quality leads from this channel. Test a campaign for yourself with different targeting variations to determine the ROI for your own company and target market.

4. Google Adwords

(Estimated budget $500-10,000+ Per Month)

Google Adwords is a very effective advertising platform and probably the most widely used among B2B marketers. The adwords platform is a lot more complex than the advertising platforms listed above and usually requires either someone in-house who has had experience with the platform before and has an adwords certification or the other option would be to outsource this to an advertising agency.

However, If you’d like to tackle this platform on your own, Google offers extensive education on how to advertise using Adwords on their website.

Find out an estimated bid cost for different keywords using the Adwords Keyword Tool. Lower competition keywords are typically have cheaper bids and higher competition keywords are typically more expensive. The cost per click can range anywhere from a few cents to twenty five dollars plus.

For example:

If you were trying to get more leads for an Executive MBA Program some keywords you might be going after are: Leadership Development, Executive MBA, Executive MBA, Executive Education, Etc.

keyword tool screenshot

Here’s a short video that describes adwords in more depth:

The ROI of Adwords: It really depends on your business, industry and how good you are at advertising however the average click through rate you should be shooting for is .025% and an average conversion rate between 1-5%.

5. Inbound Marketing

(Estimated Budget $500-10,000+ Per Month)

Inbound marketing is a pull-marketing strategy that attracts visitors to your company website through the creation of valuable content. Inbound marketing is a combination of content marketing, search engine optimization, social media and prospect tracking that, in short, makes your customers come to you. Read More: What is Inbound Marketing?

While most of the strategies above are tactics that can yield great short-term results, Inbound marketing is a longer term investment that usually results in higher quantity and quality of leads over time.

Inbound marketing helps attract new visitors through your site through valuable content, then through various offers and calls to action- you convert those customers to leads, then through lead nurturing and lead intelligence you can convert these leads to paying customers.

As outbound marketing tactics become less and less effective, investing in inbound marketing now will help ensure long-term success for your business.

For Example:

If you’re a plastic surgeon and you’re looking for more leads for your business, the cost to advertise on Adwords might be anywhere from $10-25 per click (a really high cost per click).  However, if you invest time in creating valuable content by answering common questions that your potential customers might have- such as: “How long does it take to recover from Blepharoplasty surgery” or “Common Complications from Tummy Tucks,” when someone in your target market searches for the answer to these common questions- you’d be the company showing up in the search results (It’s a little more complex than this but this is the basic concept). Inbound marketing is all about branding yourself and company as a thought leader in your industry and building trust with the consumer while they are researching potential providers and information- in turn it’s likely that these visitors will return to your company for paid services because you gave them valuable information that they were looking for and you’ve become a trusted resource.

The ROI of Inbound Marketing: Hubspot offers a great report on the ROI of inbound marketing and I also have written an article on the success I’ve seen from inbound marketing.

6. LinkedIn Premium Marketing Solutions

(Estimated Budget 15k+)

LinkedIn’s Premium Marketing Solutions offer some of the best tools for effectively targeting the right audience and getting the right message in front of them. Personally, I’ve had some of the best results using some of their premium products such as Sponsored InMail Messages, Banner Advertising, and Text Links.

First off, don’t be scared of the cost, as you can typically spread the insertion order over a few month period. The biggest value to using their premium solutions is getting in front of a large amount of people with very specific targeting, all at once.

Here’s a quick video on the value of their premium advertising solutions:

Here’s an example of how I’ve used these products in the past:

Sponsored InmailWhile trying to source CEOs of $5M+ companies, I needed a way to get higher market penetration within a specific city. I used their sponsored inmail messaging product to send a message to 1,500 CEOs and used their advanced targeting to narrow it down to the CEOs of companies with employee count of 51+ companies.

The ROI of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions: I ended up with an open rate of over 30% of the messages sent and had a 10% conversion rate on opens. This in turn turned into high quality leads and eventually paying customers. What I’ve noticed from using these premium marketing solutions is usually the quantity of leads that come in are less but the quality is higher and the time to purchase is shorter.

Here’s more information about their Sponsored Inmail Product.

What Now?

Now you should have 6 more ideas on generating B2B leads for your business. Have you used any of these tactics in the past? If so, please share your experiences in the comments below. If you have any questions on implementing any of these tactics, please leave a comment.

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